Eyewitness weaves tale of Iran’s revolution


On Nov. 4, 1979, Islamist students and militants loyal to the Ayatollah Khomeini took over the American Embassy compound in Tehran and captured 52 Americans — a diplomatic crisis that lasted 444 days.

Simon Sion Ebrahimi, a local Iranian Jewish author, remembers that day well. It was the same day employees at his accounting firm, which faced the American Embassy, took him hostage.

Now a 73-year-old retired banker living in Woodland Hills, Ebrahimi has incorporated his hostage ordeal in Tehran as well as other experiences before and during the Iranian Revolution into “Veiled Romance,” the first in a planned series of novels depicting the multigenerational saga of an Iranian Jewish family.

Ebrahimi says he chose to write the novel in English in order to inform a wide audience about the plight of Jews in Iran during the country’s 1979 revolution.

“While numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, have been written in Farsi about the events surrounding the 1979 revolution in Iran, there is a big vacuum — especially in fiction, and more specifically in English — not only on this subject, but also on how Persian Jews have lived in Persia for over 2,500 years,” said Ebrahimi, who is donating proceeds from the novel to the Iranian American Jewish Federation’s emergency fund, which helps local Iranian Jews dealing with financial difficulties.

“Veiled Romance” recounts the love story of two young Iranian Jews swept up in Iran’s revolution. Leila, the novel’s female protagonist, narrates the tale.

Although the characters are fictional, many of their experiences, including the hostage ordeal, are drawn directly from Ebrahimi’s own experience. 

“[I was] an Iranian Jew who was taken hostage by his 500 employees because of his position, knowledge of the world, and perspective on government and law that made me an equal threat to the new regime in Tehran,” said Ebrahimi, who at the time was a partner in a large international CPA firm.

The author says his novel offers an accurate portrayal of the anti-Semitism many Jews faced before and after Iran’s revolution — including some of the intolerance Jews experienced while living in the Jewbareh, or the Jewish ghetto, in the city of Esfahan.

“The brutality of our neighboring nomads was beyond words. Admittedly, some of my childhood memories are vague, therefore I conducted extensive research by interviewing the elders of my community to corroborate my own memories,” Ebrahimi said. “My hope is that with ‘Veiled Romance’ my Muslim readers learn of the intolerance we as Jews experienced in Iran, because it is through knowledge that the walls of prejudice can be destroyed.”

Unlike the 52 hostages held at the American Embassy in Tehran, who were seen by Khomeini as agents of “The Great Satan,” Ebrahimi said his captors viewed him as “a lesser Satan.”

Employees demanded $20 million, telling Ebrahimi to get the funds from his “hidden bank accounts in Israel and America.” Guards were posted outside his office, and he was told by his captors, “Please don’t go home.”

Four months later, Ebrahimi was allowed to leave when he struck a deal to pay $60,000 — the exact amount a French client owed the firm. He flew to Paris to collect the money, and while there he secured a six-month visa. After he returned to Iran and paid his captors, Ebrahimi was miraculously able to flee the country with his family even though he had been placed on a no-fly list.

Despite a difficult captivity, Ebrahimi said he harbors no ill will and is grateful to many of his Iranian Muslim friends who were integral in helping to secure his release from captivity and his escape from Iran.

Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Frank praised the novel, and “Walking the Bible” author Bruce Feiler called the book “an irresistible and touching view into a lost world.”

Ebrahimi said feedback from Jewish and non-Jewish readers has been overwhelmingly positive, and he noted that he has also received feedback from non-Jewish readers in Iran.

“As a woman who lived through the revolution I could easily identify with the issues Leila was facing, albeit in a factually fictional novel,” Homa Oskoui, a Muslim reader living in Iran, wrote in an e-mail to Ebrahimi. “I read a lot of the story with moist eyes, feeling sad, heartbroken, and even angry at times, for the loss of our ‘homeland’ that we won’t get back in my lifetime.”

For more information, visit this story at jewishjournal.com. To read a Q-and-A with Simon Sion Ebrahimi, visit Karmel Melamed’s blog at jewishjournal.com/iranianamericanjews.

Iran turmoil likely to benefit Israel


Like the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago, the outcome of the post-election unrest in Iran could be of major strategic significance for the Middle East and for Israel.

Israeli analysts see three possible scenarios:

* President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling ayatollahs use force to reassert the authority of their regime.

* Ahmadinejad’s presidential rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, sweeps to power on a wave of popular support and reforms what still remains an essentially clerical regime.

* The unrest takes on a dynamic of its own, driving the ayatollahs from power.

In each scenario, Israel stands to benefit.

Clearly, regime change in Tehran could alter radically the political landscape of the entire region.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Middle East gradually adopted a new but equally bipolar character: Instead of the Soviet Union and its proxies standing against the United States and its allies, Iran has supplanted the Soviet role as the prime adversary. It was Iran that fueled the Arab-Israeli conflict through its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza—Hezbollah and Hamas, respectively.

If street demonstrations do lead to regime change in Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas could lose their Iranian patron and their major arms supplier, and the prospects for Israeli-Arab accommodation would improve dramatically. A new regime also could put the brakes on the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes even further.

“Under a different regime, the peaceful relations we used to have with Iran could be re-established,” he declared in an interview with the German Bild newspaper.

Israel and Iran had ties until 1979, when the shah was overthrown and exiled.

This best-case scenario, however, is also the most unlikely.

More likely, Ahmadinejad and the radical ayatollahs led by Ali Khamenei will remain in power. Even if this is the case, however, they will be seen to have rigged the election and then used force to suppress the popular will. The regime will be perceived more widely as brutally suppressive, will lose international legitimacy and, if it persists with its nuclear weapons’ program, could face a much tougher sanctions regime than otherwise would have been the case.

Iran in the future may need to be more attuned to domestic concerns and spend less on outside forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This scenario, too, would be favorable for Israel.

If Mousavi comes to power by forcing and winning a new election, he may be ready for a deal with the West on the nuclear issue. He also is likely to be less virulently anti-Israel than Ahmadinejad, and to provide less support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

Some Israeli analysts fear that this will end up being only half a revolution: Mousavi would come to power, show a more human face of Shiite Islam to the rest of the world, win international plaudits, and defuse criticism and scrutiny of Iran while maintaining the same anti-Israel and nuclear policies as the previous government. Under a cloak of respectability, this Iran could be even more dangerous than Ahmadinejad’s, analysts fear.

Several leading Israeli Iran experts see the showdown in Iran as largely a family quarrel between members of the same conservative, clerical elite. They argue that there is not a great deal of difference between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and the only slightly less conservative Mousavi, who is backed by Ayatollah Ali Rafsanjani.

Indeed, the protesters seem to be using Mousavi as a rallying figure because they have no genuine reformist of stature to back. By the same token Mousavi, who seeks the presidency to make minor reforms, is happy to use Iranians who want much more than he is offering to build his power base.

The big question for Iran, Israel and the Middle East is whether Mousavi is riding a tiger that at some point may usher in a new more democratic era in Iran, and with it a more malleable and stable Middle East.

Here the role of the armed forces could be crucial. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard surely will remain loyal to the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei regime, but what of the rest of the army? If there is to be a real revolution, army units would have to join the popular protest in relatively large numbers.

Although this does not seem likely now, Israeli analysts are not ruling it out. They point out that despite Iran’s unprecedented oil revenues over the past few years, the economy is in tatters because of heavy spending on exporting the Iranian revolution rather than on bettering the lives of the Iranian people.

Most analysts agree that Israel should not interfere or give any semblance of interfering in Iran, as to do so almost certainly would be counterproductive. Still, both Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have expressed strong empathy for the Iranian protesters.

“It’s a regime whose real nature has been unmasked and it’s been unmasked by an incredible act of courage by Iran’s citizens,” Netanyahu told NBC.

“Let the young people raise their voice for freedom,” Peres declared in a Jewish leadership forum. “Let the Iranian women voice their thirst for equality.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a lightning visit to Cairo to discuss the Iranian situation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In the regional divide between pro-Iranian radicals and pro-Western moderates, Israel and Egypt are on the same side, together with other key countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. A major shake-up in Iran could reshape the regional architecture and perhaps pave the way for far-reaching rapprochement between Israel and its neighbors.

Solving the riddle


Overnight, they lost their homes, their jobs, their life savings. At nine in the morning, they were well off; by noon, they were impecunious.

All the hard work and planning, the expensive education, the sacrifices, all the good fortune, the street smarts and common sense and old wisdom they had fallen upon or inherited or learned on their own — gone in a matter of hours, sucked away by the greed and immorality, the cravenness and stupidity of those in charge.

I’ve seen this movie before.

Thirty years ago this month, before Freddie Mac and Bernie Madoff and failing automakers, before Henry Paulson and Merrill Lynch and billion-dollar bailouts that don’t make a dent, tens of thousands of Iranian Jews watched helplessly as their lives unraveled through no fault of their own. It was the height of the Islamic Revolution, the climax of months of anxiety and stalemate.

In Los Angeles and New York and elsewhere in the West, families who had left Iran “for the summer,” to “wait out the troubles” and “return in time for the kids to start school in September” realized there was no going back. From far away, they watched as their homes and businesses were confiscated in Iran, as they and anyone else deemed sympathetic to the shah were fired from their jobs, tried in absentia and condemned to death.

Strangers in a strange land, they had no bank accounts, no credit, no knowledge of the workings of Western commercial systems. One minute they were successful professionals and artists and entrepreneurs; the next minute they were being yelled at by impatient clerks at discount stores, where no one cares who you once were — either learn English or go home.

And yet they endured. Most even triumphed.

I’ve wondered about this for 30 years, and more so in the last few months: How, I’ve asked myself, did our parents do it? How did they suffer so much loss with such grace, find their footing in a foreign land, start over and build again, often better than the first time?

Women in their 20s and 30s, with young children and no income, a husband stranded back in Iran; elderly men who spoke not a word of English, who had survived the ghetto and the poverty of old Iran, thrived under the shah only to see it all disappear; middle-aged couples with elderly parents and teenage sons and daughters — three generations of loss and alienation under one roof.

Where did my parents find the strength, the faith that sustained their own optimism and made the success of my generation possible?

Ironically, it was the economic meltdown of 2008 that helped me solve the riddle of 1978 and ’79. Through the torrent of bad economic news and the sorry spectacle of reckless dealers and malicious trustees and criminally ignorant public officials, I spent the better part of last year reliving the worst moments of the Iranian revolution. Both in terms of personal loss and collective angst, the parallels between us then and us now are obvious.

There must be a lesson here, I thought.

This is what I remember of the years directly after the revolution: my mother on the phone with her sisters a dozen times a day; my father sitting down with friends and strangers from Iran, talking into the early morning hours about what could be done, and how, and at what cost.

My brother-in-law walking every square foot of Westwood Boulevard and the downtown jewelry district, stopping every time he ran into another Iranian so they could bring each other up to date on what they had learned most recently. My cousin moving into her parents’ two-bedroom apartment with her three young daughters and two unmarried sisters.

My grandmother baby-sitting her grandnieces and nephews after school so their parents could work. Entire families moving to small towns in Kansas and Oklahoma, where a son or daughter was attending college.

Kids my age going to school in the daytime and working (illegally) at liquor stores at night to help pay the rent. Shabbat dinners with seven aunts and their husbands and children; Passover seders with 62 cousins and everyone’s in-laws.

We were lost, but never alone.

It’s one of those traits — this enhanced sense of community, this emphasis on the value of friendship and family, even if you don’t like the friends or the family, this recognition that we are defined as much by what we do individually as what we achieve as a group — that have as many drawbacks as advantages.

It’s the old village mentality, the need to belong at almost any cost, that is often deplored in traditional societies such as our own. It’s a tribal force that breeds conformity, nurtures intolerance, stifles the tendency toward originality and privacy on the part of the individual. At the same time, though, it’s a safety net like no other, an organized base of support that can catch a people — even Western people — in free fall, a sure thing when nothing else is for certain. It’s the one place, the one truth, you know holds no surprises.

“Why must we visit our great-great-aunt and her weird children and snooty grandchildren every time she invites us to her house?” my sisters and I used to bug my mother in those years.

“We see her because she’s your great-great-aunt,” my mother would say, as if that was supposed to make any sense.

We didn’t like the aunt, and she didn’t like us, and still, she came to our house, and we went to hers, and we all made nice to each other like little robots on some kind of mission of cordiality, the purpose of which is only now becoming evident to me: She wasn’t important in and of herself, this aunt. She was a link in the chain, a knot in the safety net, and so were we, and so were the weird children and the snooty grandkids.

In a fractured society, amid fear of the future and shame about the past, where so many families are standing at the edge of poverty and unemployment, and so many of the trusted have proven unworthy of trust, the old village may just be the place we all want to go back to.

For the children of those Iranian Jews who weathered the storm three decades ago and are caught in its midst again this year, the question is, have we kept enough of our parents’ values to be able to find our way back to the safety and support of the tribe?

For the rest of the country, descendants of those immigrant communities who came to America a hundred years ago and built the country into what it is today, the question is, will they look to the past, discover the secret of their parents’ survival and come together once again as a family?

Gina Nahai is an author and a professor of creative writing at USC. Her latest novel is “Caspian Rain” (MacAdam Cage, 2007). Her column appears monthly in The Journal.

This time, I remember


We’re sitting around my parents’ dining room in Century City for Shabbat dinner, and the conversation veers toward our childhoods in Iran.

My cousin, who’s a few years older than I (though you’d never guess it by looking at her, because she has that remarkable ability to forgive the world instantly for all its cruelties), is talking about the big house on Shah Reza Street where I grew up — how grand and magnificent it had seemed to her in those years, how every time she came over with her parents and sisters, she felt awed and startled by the vast garden with the many pools, the high, forbidding walls of yellow bricks, the outsized halls and heavy velvet drapes and 12-foot-high French doors that opened onto tiled balconies with wrought-iron railings.

Across the table from her, another cousin, this one from the other side of the family, concurs. “We were scared to talk or move or, God forbid, play there when we came over,” she says. “That just wasn’t the kind of place where you did silly childish things,” she says. “It seemed like everything that happened there was serious and important and dramatic.”

They go on like this for a few minutes while my mother fusses with the dinner.

They’re playing that “Do you remember?” game I dread because I’m so bad at it, because I don’t remember anything — ever — unless I’m writing about it; it’s like I read a book of stories once and memorized every line, and after that I stopped seeing or learning anything ever again. So I never participate in these reminiscences and certainly never encourage them; I try to slip away unnoticed when the conversation begins or, if that’s not an option, I explain that I’ve been in a coma my whole life, I’m brain-damaged, yes, I’m sure I was there, right along with you, when all this happened but I might as well have been on Mars for all the impression it’s left.

Except this time, I know exactly what they’re all talking about.

I remember the house — every corner and back door and hidden stairway in it, every ancient tree and life-sized statue and fresh-water pool in the yard, every rusted metal gate, razor-wired brick wall, secret passageway and narrow tunnel and dark alley. I remember all the rooms, the kitchens, the servants’ quarters. The French, hand-carved furniture, Czech crystals, Persian rugs, Italian marble floors. To me, it had the aura of a place in decline — a fortress of pride and vanity, built with the kind of care and attention that implies unwavering faith, unabashed arrogance, a certain confidence in one’s immortality.

Built by my grandfather when his children were very young, it had stood stalwart against the decades and the many turns of history, resisted the carnage of time and the pull of entropy, the many upheavals in the city’s constitution, the decay of the streets, the onslaught of traffic, the mass immigration from the countryside to the city. And yes, it was indeed the scene of great drama and outsized stories, not the kind of place that tolerated childhood. So when my forever-young cousin turns to me with a bemused smile and asks, “Do you remember?” I can actually say “Yes, I do remember, this one I remember well.”

What I can’t say is how shocked I am to learn that we all have such similar impressions, all these years later, of the house on Shah Reza Street. That I never thought anyone else would remember the place as I did, never knew how much of what I remembered was factually correct. I never knew how much larger, more theatrical that house had become in my imagination, how different — smaller — I would find it when I went back to Iran.

It’s been 30 years since I saw the house, I want to say, and this is the first time I realize that other people saw it as well, and perhaps in the same way. It’s been 30 years since I left Iran, and I still know I’m going back some day, because I have to see that house again, to stand before the yard door and discover if it’s indeed 12 feet high, or if I’ve imagined it so, to ring the doorbell and see if I can hear its chime echo up and down the street. Everything else I knew or thought I knew about Iran has changed with time; even my sense of belonging, my sense of familiarity with the people and the language and the customs of the place, has faded beyond recognition, but somehow, I know it will all come back the minute I see the house, that I will recapture all my lost memories, be able to tell truth from fiction, to put together the many pieces of myself that now lie across the landscape of time.

I would go back to the house some day, I’ve always thought, and no matter how old it’s become, how many other families have lived in it and how many changes it has undergone, I will walk into the first floor hallway and smell my grandfather’s cigarette smoke, climb the steps to the second floor and find my older sister, so quiet and innocent the teachers call her “the holy mother,” listening to Barry White while she does her math homework. I will walk into the bedroom where the three of us girls sleep and see my old bed just where I left it the day we flew out of Iran for what turned out to be the last time. I will open the closets and find my old clothes, pull the drawers and rescue my plastic dolls from their 30-year slumber.

My childhood. My parents’ youth. My little sister with the hazel eyes and the red hair and the tiny hands holding popsicle sticks as she walked around the house on scorching summer afternoons, the orange ice melting against her impossibly white skin. My beautiful aunt with the dark brown eyes and the short, short skirts, the red patent-leather boots, the fearlessness with which she announced one day she was going to America — “to New York, or L.A., or whatever,” she said — to study.

Half an hour into the meal, my mother has finally finished running back and forth into the kitchen, bringing out a new dish every three minutes and chiding the kids for not eating enough, all this dieting will make you sick your bones will hollow out you won’t be able to study your skin will turn grey hasn’t anyone warned you about the dangers of malnutrition?

“You have,” my little niece whispers quietly, “just about every week.”

My mother ignores the response, sits down at the table and overhears the conversation about the house. She puts a plateful of rice in front of my younger son and says, as casually as if she were still talking about food, “They tore it down.”

The others are too engrossed in the chatter to take note of what has been said, but I turn to her and ask, “What’s been torn down?”

“The house,” she says. “They tore it down.”

She has said this too matter-of-factly, with too little emotion, so I don’t believe we’re talking about the same place.

“What house?” I ask. “Who’s ‘they’?”

At the other end of the table, my cousins and sisters have stopped talking; my daughter, who’s been taking Farsi lessons at UCLA and is therefore more attentive than usual to family talk (what she calls “Persians’ strange stories”) is looking at me as if to glean the importance of some house being torn down somewhere in the world.

“I don’t know who ‘they’ are,” my mother says. “But they tore down the house on Shah Reza Street. My brother drove by the other day and saw it was all gone, the whole place has been leveled, probably a while ago already.”

For a moment, no one speaks. I don’t know what the others are thinking but for me, the news has repercussions greater than can be processed in the course of one evening or one whole day. I’m not sure what it means, or why I hadn’t been told sooner, or why my parents don’t seem particularly disturbed by this.

I don’t know why my sisters don’t ask, why my cousins slowly pick up the conversation and go on in the same vein, playing the “Do you remember” game about a place that, until minutes ago, had been eternal, everlasting, my true North.

Gina Nahai is an author and a professor of creative writing at USC. Her latest novel is “Caspian Rain” (MacAdam Cage, 2007). Her column appears monthly in The Journal.

Escape, exile, rebirth: Iranian Jewish diaspora alive and well in Los Angeles


Thirty years have passed since the massive and violent demonstrations against the Shah of Iran that began in September 1978, and for many, the start of that country’s bloody revolution might seem a faded memory. Yet I have carried those shattering events with me all of my life: I was born on in Tehran on Sept. 11, 1978, as chaos unfolded on the streets outside.

For Americans, Sept. 11 has its own painful history, but for me, that day each year has always been, as well, a reminder of another horrific tragedy: Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, 1978, were among the first and most brutal days of a revolution in Iran that would result, among many upheavals, in the uprooting of the country’s ancient and once-thriving Jewish population.

My family’s story is no different from that of thousands of other Jews who fled Iran during and after the revolution, many of whom now live in Southern California, New York, Israel and elsewhere worldwide — the Iranian Jewish diaspora.

While scholars have since debated the true cause of the revolution, it is well known that the massive public protests for “greater freedoms” and strikes crippled Iran’s economy. Violence between the protesters and police erupted in Iran’s capital in January 1978 and intensified later in the year.

These activities eventually resulted in the collapse of the government led by the shah, who fled Iran on Jan. 20, 1979. On Feb. 1, 1979, the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran, quickly dissolved the monarchy and shortly thereafter established a new fundamentalist Islamic state government.

The new theocratic regime eliminated practically overnight many of the freedoms and civil liberties once taken for granted by Iranians — including the country’s Jews, who under the shah’s reign had experienced one of the greatest periods of peace and prosperity in their long history in the region.

A day perhaps best remembered in the United States is Nov. 4, 1979, when regime operatives took over the American Embassy in Tehran and held captive 52 Americans in a reign of terror that would last for 444 days — the rationale for this act, in part, was retaliation against the U.S. government, which had granted the exiled shah permission to be treated for cancer in America.

The new regime’s henchmen also quickly executed several prominent Jewish community leaders, accusing them of sympathizing with the fallen monarchy or “spying for Israel and America.” For fear of what calamity might befall them, many Jewish families rushed to abandon their homes and businesses and fled the country — often under cover of night. Others lost everything they owned, as millions of dollars in assets were confiscated by the new fundamentalist Islamist Iranian government.

Under the shah’s rule, Iran’s Jews, as well as other religious minorities in Iran, had become accustomed to being treated with respect, albeit as separate, distinct cultures. Now they were second-class citizens, and the atmosphere of hostility led thousands of them to flee the country.

Looking back, the trauma of that flight has left deep wounds within my community. Many Iranian Jews continue to live in disbelief at what transpired.

“It was unbelievable, unfathomable for us Jews to believe anything would happen to us in Iran because of the incredible power of shah and his government,” Ebrahim Yahid, a local Iranian Jewish activist, now in his 80s, told me in a recent interview. “Nobody in our community believed of the calamity we would face under the new regime of Khoemini.”

Jewish flight from Iran began in earnest, most community members agree, in May 1979, when the new regime’s revolutionary guard executed 66-year-old “Haji” Habib Elghanian, a philanthropist and the leader of Iran’s Jewish community. Elghanian’s younger brother, Sion, who now lives in Los Angeles, recently spoke to me about his brother’s execution, the first time he has spoken publicly about it.

“Haji was in America, and 10 to 15 days before Khomeini returned to Iran, he returned to Iran,” said Sion Elghanian, who is now retired and in his late 80s.

The older Elghanian had been in the United States temporarily, hoping to weather the chaos of the early days of unrest, which had brought the country to a standstill through nationwide strikes.

It was expected that Habib Elghanian might become a target, because he was the wealthiest Jew in Iran and the leader of Iran’s Jews.

“Everyone, including the late Israeli Prime Minister Begin, asked him not to return to Iran, but he said, ‘I was born in Iran, I love my country, I have treated all Iranians — Muslims and Jews alike — with compassion, and I have not done anything illegal,'” his younger brother remembered.

The Islamic regime arrested Habib Elghanian on Feb. 17, 1979, and falsely charged him with being a Zionist spy, along with other trumped-up charges of treason against the state. He was executed on May 9, 1979, after a sham trial by the revolutionary Islamic court, which lasted just over an hour and consisted merely of a proclamation of the verdict, without presenting any real evidence. While he was in prison, family members and friends were able to get some messages to him and receive his replies.

“Haji knew that they were going to kill him,” Sion Elghanian said. “Before he was executed, he requested that that he be given his tallit and kippah to wear. He recited the ‘Shema’ … and then they shot him by a firing squad.

“Afterward, Iran’s Jews were in total shock and grief,” his brother told me. “We told him [Elghanian] that we wanted to arrange to have him sprung from jail in an escape, but he told us not to go forward with it, as the move might motivate the Islamic leaders of Iran to retaliate by executing thousands of Jews living in the country.”

Sion Elghanian said that he respects his brother’s wishes not to be sprung from jail and feels that the family did all that they could to rescue and save him. He views his brother as a hero who sacrificed himself for the good of the community.